The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), an organization working to preserve and enhance the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) for more than 92 years, recently announced a new partnership with Kubota, a leading global provider of lawn mowers, utility vehicles, construction equipment, agriculture tractors and hay equipment.
The partnership involves Kubota graciously providing the ATC with the usage of a compact track loader, a high-tech machine that can operate in remote Trail sections. The powerful 96 horsepower diesel engine easily removes invasive woody vegetation. The mower attachment for the Kubota tractor is generously provided by Beverage Tractor, Virginia’s largest full-line Kubota dealer located in Stuarts Draft.
“Corporate partners are critical to the ATC and our ability to fulfill our mission of protecting the Appalachian Trail, one of the most important landscapes in the eastern United States,” said Laura Belleville, vice president of conservation and trail management for the ATC. “We give big thanks to Kubota for providing us with equipment and training so that we can enhance 614 acres of habitat for important wildlife species while also improving some amazing scenic areas. Kubota joins our other vital corporate partners who provide us with vital safety, clothing and backpacking equipment that allows our field crew and educators to provide exceptional services to the public.”
In the absence of historic natural disturbances and large grazers that formerly roamed the Appalachian Mountains, the ATC selectively removes woody vegetation to maintain habitat for populations animals, such as monarch butterflies, golden-winged warblers, and rare bees, that require open, shrubby areas, or grasslands. This work is just a part of the ATC’s ongoing stewardship efforts to care for the A.T.’s various rare, threatened and endangered species.
“We’re particularly proud of any opportunity we have to offer our expertise and equipment to a worthy cause, and we’re thrilled to provide assistance to the ATC,” said Todd Stucke, senior vice president, marketing, product support & strategic projects at Kubota. “Their work helps ensure the A.T. remains a magical experience for hikers and a vital part of our shared American heritage. We build our products for maximum efficiency and durability, and are confident this compact track loader will serve the ATC well in its worthy efforts.”